Cell of Our Lady of Walsingham
There is a Cell of Our Lady of Walsingham attached to the church. A votive mass to our Lady is said normally on the first Saturday of the month, at 8 am. The Angelus is also said regularly.
Every three months we have a special mass in honour of Our Lady of Walsingham. Each meeting starts with a mass followed by a shared breakfast.
This meets next on Saturday 5 August, 2023, at 9 am for mass followed by breakfast in the Cafe.
For more information about the story of Our Lady of Walsingham see here for the Shrine website in the UK.
St George the Martyr, Goodwood
MAY IS CALLED MARY’S MONTH. The reason why this is so, is a bit obscure.
Here’s a brief explanation.
For centuries, May has been celebrated in the Northern Hemisphere as the start of Spring. The custom has origins going back as far as the Ancient Greeks. In early Greece, May was dedicated to Artemis, the goddess of fecundity. In Ancient Rome, May was dedicated to Flora, the goddess of blooms, or blossoms. They celebrated ludi florals, or floral games, at the end of April and asked the intercession of Flora for all that blooms.
In medieval times, similar customs abounded, all centring around the practice of expelling winter, as May 1 was considered the start of new growth.
During this period, the tradition of Tricesimum, or “Thirty-Day Devotion to Mary,” came into being. Also called, “Lady Month,” the event was held from August 15-September 14 and is still observed in some areas.
The idea of a month dedicated specifically to Mary can be traced back to the the 17th C. Although it wasn’t always held during May, Mary Month included thirty daily spiritual exercises honouring Mary. May also had the feast of the Coronation of the Virgin, on the last day of May, the 31st.
It was in this era that Mary’s Month and May were combined, making May the Month of Mary with special devotions organized on each day throughout the month. This custom became especially widespread during the nineteenth century and remains in practice until today.
The ways Mary is honoured in May is as varied as the people who honour her.
Some parishes have a daily recitation of the Rosary during May, and many erect a special May altar with a statue or picture of Mary as a reminder of Mary’s month. Additionally, it’s a tradition to crown the statue of Mary during May – a custom known as May Crowning. Often, the crown is made of beautiful blossoms representing Mary’s beauty and virtue. It’s also a reminder to the faithful to strive to imitate our Blessed Mother’s virtue in our own lives.
The Calendar was changed during the reforms of the last Century, to try and make the festivals of the New Testament come in some sort of chronical order. So, the feast of the Crowning of Mary was moved from 31 May to be the Octave of the Feast of the Assumption, and is now on 22nd August. To replace that, the Feast of the Visitation, the meeting of Mary with her cousin Elizabeth was moved from its place as the octave of the birth of John the Baptist to replace it on the 31st May. So, the logic of crowning Mary in May is not as clear as it once was.
For May, give Mary a special spot in your prayer corner. It can be a statue or picture, or even one of our little prayer cards, but place there some representation of our Blessed Mother.
Not because it’s a long-standing tradition in the Church, although it is. Not because there are any special graces connected to it, although there is.
No, do it because Mary is Mother – your mother, my mother, everyone’s mother – and because she cares for all of us day-in-and-day-out without fail, interceding for us in even the tiniest matters.
For that, she deserves an entire month in her honour.
We will meet again, on the first Saturday in August, the 5th, for mass and breakfast.